David Henry Hwang, Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Cobina Gillitt, Tangga Bhuana, N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang

N. Riantiarno’s TIME BOMB – Inaugural Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival

David Henry Hwang, N. Riantiarno and Corin Asmara. Photo by Lia Chang
David Henry Hwang, N. Riantiarno and Corin Asmara. Photo by Lia Chang

Last night I attended a reading of Time Bomb by N. Riantiarno (Indonesia), the first play of three featured in the Inaugural Columbia University School of the Arts International Play Reading Festival, organized by Dean Carol Becker and David Henry Hwang, at the Flexible Performance Space, Lenfest Center for the Arts in New York.

Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang
Director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Photo by Lia Chang

Helmed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, the cast includes Jorja Brown, Debbie Christine*, Karl Josef Co*, Kim Fischer*, Sevan Greene*, Megan Masako Haley, Katie Lee Hill*,Frank Licari, Paolo Montalban*, Aaron L. Morishita*, and Kate Rigg*.

Sitting: Katie Lee Hill, Megan Masako Haley, Paolo Montalban, David Henry Hwang. Standing: Kate Rigg, Karl Josef, Kim Fischer, Aaron L. Morishita, Debbie Christine, Jorja Brown, Debbie Christine, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Enrico de Trizio, Cobina Gillitt and N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Sitting: Katie Lee Hill, Megan Masako Haley, Paolo Montalban, David Henry Hwang. Standing: Kate Rigg, Karl Josef, Kim Fischer, Aaron L. Morishita, Debbie Christine, Jorja Brown, Debbie Christine, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Enrico de Trizio, Cobina Gillitt and N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang

*Appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Cobina Gillitt, N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Cobina Gillitt, N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang

Dramaturg: Cobina Gillitt
Consultant: Jason Williamson
Music Director: Enrico de Trizio
Stage Manager: Daniel Vaughn
Associate Stage Manager: Tzipora Reman

Time Bomb was translated from Indonesian by Barbara Hatley.

Playwright N. Riantiarno meets actors Aaron L. Morishita, Megan Masako Haley, Debbie Christine, Jorja Brown, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Paolo Montalban. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright N. Riantiarno meets actors Aaron L. Morishita, Megan Masako Haley, Debbie Christine, Jorja Brown, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Paolo Montalban. Photo by Lia Chang

This is a story about those who are marginalized. A story of those living under bridges and in foul sewers, who can only stare up at the moon and speculate on their fortunes, daydreaming about the luxurious lives stowed away behind bright shop windows. When the state comes to raze their small riverside town in order to develop the land, these villagers—forgotten, abused, oppressed—find their bodies and spirits in danger of being buried underneath the demolished rubble.

Playwright N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Playwright N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang

Born in Cirebon, Indonesia, in 1949, N. Riantiarno founded Teater Koma in Jakarta in 1977. His over-140 stage and television productions include The Cockroach Opera Trilogy; Sorry.Sorry.Sorry; Succession; Sampek Engtay; The Primadonna Opera; Burisrawa The Corporate Mogul; Semar Protests; Constipated Opera; The Republic of Bagong; The Republic of Togog; The Republic of Petruk; Metaphore of Love; and the Siejinkwie tetralogy. He is the author of the novels Evening Romance; Red Mirror; Clear Mirror; Love Mirror; and Primadonna.

Setting: A fetid slum under a bridge along a Jakarta canal. On a higher level and visible throughout the play, five diners of apparent wealth are seated at a table at a fine restaurant. Statue-like, they eat their sumptuous meals without speaking.

Standing: Kate Rigg, Karl Josef Co, Kim Fischer, Katie Lee Hill, Aaron L. Morishita, Jorja Brown, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Enrico de Trizio. Photo by Lia Chang
Standing: Kate Rigg, Karl Josef Co, Kim Fischer, Katie Lee Hill, Aaron L. Morishita, Jorja Brown, Frank Licari, Sevan Greene, Enrico de Trizio. Photo by Lia Chang

The other plays in the Festival by living international playwrights that were not originally written in English include Shaitan Lake by Rinat Tashminov (Russia) and Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali? by Raeda Taha (Palestine).

Click here for other events in the Festival.

Rachel Cooper, David Henry Hwang, Rangga Bhuana, N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang
Rachel Cooper, David Henry Hwang, Rangga Bhuana, N. Riantiarno. Photo by Lia Chang

The goal of the festival is to expand contemporary American understanding of theatre beyond that of English-speaking countries, and to present new theatrical voices to US audiences.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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